Requiring User Registration on the BJS website

We at Brothers of John the Steadfast have made the decision to require registration to comment on the site. The reason for this change is the massive amount of spam comments we are receiving.  We have worked hard to prevent most of the comments from making it onto the site, but it is a lot of work behind the scenes to do this.  Most other blogs that we’ve looked at have gone to this registration requirement in an attempt to stop the spam.   We wanted to announce this change prior to making it, and allow you to comment on the change.   We will be making the change sometime within the next week, as soon as some additional programming can be done to make sure the process is as straightforward as possible.

This change is in no way intended to restrict comments from the site, or require identifying yourself when you write comments.   You are free to choose whatever name you desire when you register for the site, and the email address you use for registering may only be viewed by the administrators of the site.   I see on some other sites people choose names such as “Anonymous 1308”; two people can’t choose the same name, so there can only be one “Anonymous”, but you may add anything to it as long as it is unique. Also, if you want to keep even your email address confidential, you may create a “throw-away” email address to register on this site at,,, or any of the other free email address sites.

The registration process will be as follows:   You enter your username and email address and request registration.   An email is sent to that address with your password in it.   You must return back to the site and login using your username and password.   You are free to change your password and make your username appear how you want it, then you may comment on any article written on this site.

If you encounter problems with writing comments, please contact us explaining the problem.

We hope you have noticed several changes in the past few weeks, including the addition of easy-to-find RSS feeds for the articles and the comments, the addition of more featured articles on the front page, and a “Promote BJS” page whose link is found at the bottom of all pages on this site. We are trying to continue to make it easier for you to read and comment on the site. As always, if you have an idea for something that will make it easier for you, our reader, to interact with our site, please contact us!

Norm Fisher
Pastor Rossow
Brothers of John the Steadfast

About Norm Fisher

Norm was raised in the UCC in Connecticut, and like many fell away from the church after high school. With this background he saw it primarily as a service organization. On the miracle of his first child he came back to the church. On moving to Texas a few years later he found a home in Lutheranism when he was invited to a confessional church a half-hour away by our new neighbors.

He is one of those people who found a like mind in computers while in Middle School and has been programming ever since. He's responsible for many websites, including the Book of Concord,, and several other sites.

He has served the church in various positions, including financial secretary, sunday school teacher, elder, PTF board member, and choir member.

Norm has been involved behind the scenes in many of the "go-to" websites for Lutherans going back many years.


Requiring User Registration on the BJS website — 21 Comments

  1. Re akismet: No; we tried it for a while and it was generating false positives; putting to spam some comments from humans. Our database is currently getting huge because of the rash of spam comments that are hitting us — 200 or more a day, each of which are at least 8000 characters long. I clear it out periodically but it’s yet another irritant.

  2. Spam? It sounds like a job for Marty Python’s Flying Circus Church!

    Registration seems a reasonable idea. Would OpenID be doable?

  3. Would prefer a Monty Python sketch!!!

    James — have you implemented OpenID on a site? I just tried to install it and didn’t seem to like me. Would appeciate your emailing me (click on Contact Us at the bottom) if you could lend a hand .. perhaps I just need to read the manual, which I haven’t had to do with any other plugins. Thanks for the pointer in any case.

  4. Registration – go for it!

    I visit the site at least daily. Appreciate all the work you’re putting into it.

  5. Oh wait, I found it:

    “As for those who are UNWILLING, perhaps there should be consideration of limiting the benefits available to them if they voluntarily reject the “common good” principle that they agreed to when they joined the Synod in the first place.”


    “we also recommend that those members of this Synod that cannot embrace the convention mandated mission of our church should feel free to leave this fellowship with truth-filled integrity and find another association with whom they can partner.”

    If that’s what this registration is all about, then sign me up BJS!


  6. I forgot this one:

    “If a congregation refuses to meet its reasonable financial obligation then it should be subject to a “fee for services” expectation for the many services it is receiving and yet not acknowledging with some degree of responsible fiscal support.”

    In other words, “Get out your checkbooks –or else.”


  7. Can it be set up to allow us to initially use our own password, rather than having one assigned and then trying to change it later? It’d be a lot simpler for us non-geeks! (I’ve been using the same password for 10 years and I’d much rather not have to write down or memorize a new one.)

  8. Myself, I’m all for registration… as long as you don’t sell my info to pay for a new and relevant lay minister whose mission it is to reach out to those don’t like church to begin with. Oh, and I better never get put on an email list whose every mailing seems to point to the fact that every verse of Scripture talks of fundraising. *heh*

  9. Califiowan (comment # 10): No, I don’t see a method of changing the process to allow you to initially select your password. It is very straightforward to do, though.

    You are sent an email. Save the password that was given to you (simply drag the mouse over the password, and hit CTL-c to save it), click the link to go back to the BJS site, then enter your username and hit CTL-v in the password box. You are then taken to a page where you can view how your name will show up, and correct it as needed. You may also change your password to your “10 year old password” if you so desire.

    FYI: I have a 10 year old password as well that I use on most non-critical websites, so I know where you are coming from!

    FWIW: I just deleted 518 SPAM comments received since noon yesterday. I was curious how many we are actually receiving. Most of these are 8000+ characters long with literally dozens of links in them — all completely unrelated, but all an attempt to improve the ratings of the sites.

    Norm Fisher

  10. And it came to pass that all were told to register…
    Actually, good things have been known to come from such a decree…
    We sure want this site to be maintained and protected. It’s pretty much a lifeline–like Issues, Etc. and my own pastor’s preaching–to Lutheranism, which is Christ crucified.

  11. Some other non-religious blogs that I follow, and occasionally comment on, require that you enter the anwer to a simple arithmetic question before your comment is accepted. I’m certainly not opposed to registering, but have you considered an option like this instead? Just an idea. Still,
    Kevin in Indiana

  12. Re: the anonymous member names on comments. Could you please ban anyone from using “Martin Luther” as their name? I have a fit every time I see someone posting here with that name.

  13. Norm (comment #12):

    Did I understand you right? We only need the password e-mailed to us long enough to log in and change it to our own?

    Eric Ramer

  14. Eric (comment #17): Yes, that’s correct. You can then trash the temporary password and use whatever password you want.

    If you ever forget the password you used on this site, you can select “lost password” and it will generate a new random password and email it to your email address; you may then again immediately go change it to whatever you want.

  15. By the way .. for those curious about why my picture shows up on my comments. I have entered my real email address when I comment, and I have set up on account on Gravatars where I uploaded my picture. You are free to do this yourself if you want.

    See: to create your own icon!

  16. My gravatar shows up too although I don’t look like a penguin ready for a gunfight in real life. I much more boring. 🙂

    No problem with a registration account; it makes sense given the circumstances.

    I’d also agree with banning “Martin Luther” names but such people would find equally obnoxious names to hide under. Maybe like “Jesus First.” So, it’s a losing battle on that front. Such trolls just have to be ignored, really.

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